CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kyle Busch’s announcement Tuesday that he’s signed a multi-year contract to drive for Richard Childress Racing in 2023 was anticlimactic because of a report this past weekend that the deal was done.
But there remained a number of questions. Some of those questions were answered Tuesday.
Here are key questions and answers (where possible) about Busch’s move from Joe Gibbs Racing after this season to drive for Richard Childress Racing:
What car number will Busch drive?
He’ll be in the No. 8 car.
Childress said he spoke to Tyler Reddick about an hour before the announcement that Reddick would not be in the No. 8 car next year. It was a less-than-subtle reference to Childress saying previously he was not aware of Reddick’s announcement to 23XI Racing in 2024 until about an hour before it was made.
Said Childress of his conversation with Reddick Tuesday: “I just told him we had a contract to race next year and I’ll talk to him later about keeping him posted on how it’s going and what we’re going to be doing, how we’re going to put it together.”
Who will Busch’s crew chief be?
Randall Burnett, who is serving as Reddick’s crew chief, will move over to Busch’s team next year.
“We’re both going to have to learn each other,” Burnett said. “I know when he comes in, it’s all business on the weekend, it’s come to win. That’s what I like. That’s just what I like to do. It’s going to be my job to give him everything he needs, and I don’t mind the pressure.”
Who will be Busch’s sponsors?
Childress did not announce any sponsors, saying those would be forthcoming. He said the team “already had some commitments.”
Will Busch have an ownership stake in RCR?
How many cars will RCR run next year?
Three. Childress will have teams for Busch, Reddick and Austin Dillon. All three will have a charter, meaning Childress will need to acquire a third charter.
Childress said: “Our plan is to race three cars next year, and we’re way down the road on that.”
Where does the other charter come from?
Childress would not discuss where it was coming from or if it will be a one-year lease or be purchased.
What is something included in Kyle Busch’s contract?
That he can drive in the Indianapolis 500 if he can find a Chevrolet team. Busch had previously been prevented from getting a ride in that race because of car owner Joe Gibbs.
Kurt Busch competed in the 2014 Indianapolis 500, finishing sixth to earn Rookie of the Year honors.
“I made sure it was in the deal,” Kyle Busch said.
But he also admitted it wasn’t a key point in talks.
“None of the teams that I spoke to, that was not on the priority list,” Busch said. “The priority list was ‘Can I win races? Can I win championships? And then what does KBM look like?’ Indy 500 wasn’t on that paper.”
Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance and Motorsports, said of Busch in the Indy 500: “Where that goes, who knows?
What happens to Kyle Busch Motorsports?
It will be a Chevrolet team, but a deal is not done on what it will look like, whether it will be one, two, three or four teams.
Campbell said: “We’re still talking to Kyle about KBM. … In Trucks, we have two drivers that made the playoffs, one of them got washed out last week. We only have one left. We’ve got to be stronger in the Truck Series. Where that goes specifically with KBM, we’re still working on it.”
How did a deal not get done with Joe Gibbs Racing?
Said Busch: “Only thing I can say to that is that it didn’t happen. Apparently, they’ve got other irons in the fire, maybe other sponsors, and that’s the road they’re going down.”
Asked if he thought JGR would rather get a driver that wouldn’t cost as much as a two-time Cup champion, Busch said: “Fair assessment.”
Busch said he was informed that the No. 18 car was not an option at a point in the process.
How did this pairing of Busch at RCR come together?
Austin Dillon said that shortly after Tyler Reddick announced he would drive for 23XI Racing in 2024, he suggested to his grandfather that they talk to Busch.
Childress told Dillon: “If you can line the meeting up, I want to meet with him.”
Childress said he and Kyle first talked at Childress Vineyards, the winery that Childress owns in Lexington, North Carolina, about a 10-minute drive from the Richard Childress Racing complex.
Dillon said something Busch did for him years ago resonated and made it easier to reach out to Busch.
“One thing Kyle did for me, when I was coming up in the Truck series, we raced against each other a lot in 2010, 2011,” Dillon said. “He pulled me aside at Nashville one time when he was starting his Xfinity team and he offered me a job to come drive for him.
He said, ‘Would you be interested in driving Xfinity car, Nationwide then, for me?’ It kind of blew me away because I’ve always been known as the only reason I’ve got a ride is because my grandfather. So he was one of the only guys to offer me a ride other than my grandfather.
“I always remembered that about Kyle, even through the family stuff, the fight and all that. I always had kind of a soft spot because he offered me a job other than my grandfather. So when it came around to working on who’s going to drive this car, I pushed for Kyle.”
What does Busch see out of RCR that makes him think he can win there?
“I’m hopeful that a fresh start can kind of clean up some of the aggravations of mistakes and things like that that have kind of happened over the last couple of years on my side of things,” he said. “But just also to seeing the investment and everything that Chevrolet has been putting into the sport and their new tech center and all that is intriguing. Looking forward to seeing what all that’s all about.
“But to just be able to go race and get back behind the wheel again, to think that you are wanted somewhere and you have people that are excited about having you. As Richard mentioned, the whole organization, everybody on the shop floor is all asking questions.”
What role does Busch envision in helping RCR be better?
“I haven’t gotten into the trenches on much of that yet,” he said. “But, obviously, they have a good foundation and they have a good start.
“It’s just a matter of the knowledge and information that I feel like I have that I can bring to the table, bringing attention to areas in which make you a championship caliber organization.
What was the message Dillon gave Busch about Richard Childress Racing?
“I told this to Kyle, ‘We’re survivors and we’re fighters at RCR,” Dillon said. “We go through ups and downs throughout time, but we still come out the other side fighting, and we figure out ways to survive.
“You’ll never have to worry about that at RCR. When you’re a part of this organization, we’re going to fight together as long as you’re willing to fight with us. We’re gonna fight together. I think that was something for him to know that no matter what we go through, we’ll make it work. That’s what we do. We’re good at that.”
Who replaces Busch in the No. 18 car next year at Joe Gibbs Racing?
Expect that to be Ty Gibbs. JGR has not made an announcement but that should be coming sooner than later.